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    Saturday, September 25, 2021

    World Tourism Day 2021 - Eko Oni Baje Festival Honours Sanwo-Olu, Others

    Ahead of the 2021 World Tourism Day, the 13th Annual Eko Oni Baje Festival which kicks off today will honour Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor Yahaya Bello (Kogi State); (Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq and Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman, Air Peace as the recipients of its prestigious 'Icons of National Cohesion Award'.

    As activities for the 2021 World Tourism Day unfolds, the 13th Annual Eko Oni Baje Festival has announced that events marking the day will commence on Saturday, September 25 and end on Monday, September 27.

    According to the organisers, highlights of this year’s edition that has become a part of the cultural calendar of Lagos metropolis include the new yam festival, soccer competition, children’s art competition/ exhibition, beauty pageantry and wrestling to bring together the various ethnic groups living in Lagos in line with the 2021 WTD theme: “Tourism For Inclusive Growth”.

    Announcing this, the Project Coordinator of Castledown Arts Centre, Ozo Chinedu Idezuna, who also is the curators of the event, said the quartet of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos State), Governor Yahaya Bello (Kogi State), Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq (Minister of Humanitarian Affairs) and Mr. Allen Onyema (Chairman, Air Peace) will be decorated with the prestigious ‘Icons of National Cohesion Award’.

    With the theme: ‘Peaceful Coexistence’, the Honours Committee of the cultural fiesta stated that the quartet would be honoured for using their offices and activities to cement the ties of national unity amongst Nigerians.

    Idezuna explained that the quartet got the highest number of votes from respondents in a poll conducted to shortlist nominees for the event.

    He said: “Let me stress that the award holds a special place in this year’s festival, because we are concerned about the state of the Nigerian nation today and believe that we need peaceful coexistence, which our forefathers had been observing even before the Europeans came to Africa.

    “We started a poll in June to find out about Nigerians whose activities are helping to unite us rather than divide us; that was what threw up the four names.

    “Nigerians therefore, believe that these winners have done well in uniting us, which is why as promoters of national unity through culture; we want to recognise them and encourage others to be like them so that we can have a more united Nigeria. Our message is that Nigeria is one,” he said.

    Besides, he disclosed that the festival has always highlighted what unites us as Nigerians, and that is our culture, expressed through sports, our cuisine, the new yam festival and our beautiful women.

    He emphasised, “The average Nigerian has no problem with people from other ethnic nationalities. He needs peaceful coexistence to eke out a living and progress. That is the

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